Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chicken Provencal

Chicken Provencal
Do you have a favorite fall/winter dish?  Mine is Chicken Provencal.  I love any kind of meat that is stewed for a long time, succulent and falling off the bone, but Chicken Provencal has a special place in my heart.  I think it’s the lavender.  I know that lavender isn't traditional, but it adds a certain je ne sais quoi and a hint of fragrance that I find alluring.

Chicken Provencal cooking with herbs and spices 
Herbs de Provence is a blend of savory, fennel, basil, thyme, rosemary, tarragon, marjoram, oregano, mint, bay leaves and, yes, lavender.  When you look at recipes for Chicken Provencal (and I’ve looked at many), they often indicate that you can leave out the herbs de Provence.  Blasphemy, I say!  What is Chicken Provencal without herbs de Provence?  Nothing more than stewed fowl!

However, there are as many ways to prepare Chicken Provencal as there are little old ladies in France.  Here, I present you with my recipe, but feel free to make your own!  Traditionally, Chicken Provencal is prepared with white wine, but a few weeks ago I had none, so I used red.  It was delicious.  Experiment to find a stewed chicken dish that you love, and let it keep you warm on these cold fall nights.

Chicken Provencal with quinoa pasta and blanched kale

Chicken Provencal

1 whole chicken cut into parts with skin on, or 8 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
2 T safflower oil
½ onion, chopped
7-8 medium garlic gloves or 4-6 large cloves chopped or pressed
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup white or red wine
1 cup chicken broth (instant is fine)
1- 15 oz can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 T chopped fresh thyme leaves or 2 tsp dried
1 tsp chopped fresh oregano or ½ tsp dried
1 bay leaf
2 tsp herbs de Provence
½ cup nicoise or kalamata olives
1 T chopped fresh parsley

  1. Move the oven rack to the lower middle position and pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees F.  Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken.  Add half the oil to the Dutch oven and preheat over medium high heat.  Place half the chicken, skin side down in pan and cook until the skin is well browned about 5 minutes.  Flip the chicken with tongs and cook 5 minutes longer.  Remove the meat from the pan, add the rest of the oil and repeat until all the chicken is browned.  Drain off all but one tablespoon of fat.
  2. Turn down heat to just below medium and sauté the onion for 7 minutes or until soft.  Add the garlic, anchovy paste and cayenne and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the wine, chicken broth, tomatoes and tomato paste, thyme, oregano, bay leaf and herbs de Provence.  Remove the skin form the chicken and place the meat in the pan.  Bring to a simmer, cover and cook in the oven until meat is falling off the bone, 1 ½ to 2 hours.
  3. After the chicken is cooked through, add olives and parsley.  Serve over pasta or rice with a fresh green salad.


Recipe modified from the cookbook The New Best Recipe from the editors of Cook’s Illustrated

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